Enable Desktop Icons in Windows 10 Creators Update

In earlier Windows versions, the Desktop had important icons enabled by default - This PC, Network, Control Panel, the User files folder were all visible by default. However, in modern Windows versions, Microsoft made most of these icons hidden. In Windows 10, only the Recycle Bin is present on Desktop by default. Also, the Windows 10 Start Menu does not have links to these icons either. Let's see how to add the classic icons back to the Desktop in Windows 10 Creators Update.

In Windows 10, Microsoft removed the classic Personalize item from the Desktop context menu. Once you click "Personalize", it will open the Settings app where you may be lost finding the Desktop icons link. Here is how it can be done.

To enable desktop Icons in Windows 10 Creators Update, do the following.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Personalization -> Themes. Refer to the following article to learn more about new personalization options of Windows 10 Creators Update.Tip: You can open this page directly with the following command:
    ms-settings:themes

    See the list of "ms-settings:" commands here: ms-settings Commands in Windows 10 Creators Update.Windows 10 Creators Update Settings Themes

  3. On the right side, you can find the "Desktop icons" link under "Related Settings" below the theme list.
    Windows 10 Creators Update Desktop Icons Link
    If your screen has big enough resolution, the Related Settings section will appear on the right.  Windows 10 Desktop Icons Link On The RightOnce you click the link, it will open the familiar dialog:Windows 10 desktop icons tick boxes

Using this method, you can get something like this:

Windows 10 desktop icons enabled

To open this dialog directly, you can use the following rundll32 command:

rundll32 shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl,,0

Type or paste it in the Run dialog (press Win + R on your keyboard to open it) or execute it from the command prompt. You might be interested in reading the complete list of Rundll32 commands available in Windows 10.

You can create a Desktop Icon Settings shortcut to open the configuration dialog window faster.

You can also add this command to the context menu of the Desktop folder. Refer to the article: Add classic personalization Desktop menu in Windows 10. It looks as follows:

Windows 10 desktop context menu

You will find ready-to-use Registry files in the article mentioned above.

15 thoughts on “Enable Desktop Icons in Windows 10 Creators Update

  1. EBIN

    Misleading title. I thought they actually disabled the icons entirely and got scared :O

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      I am sorry that I scared you.
      Btw, can you suggest a better title?

      Reply
      1. EBIN

        Dunno. “Enable System Desktop Icons” or “Enable Default Desktop Icons”?
        MS wouldn’t suprise me if they actually removed support for icons on desktop hence my reaction :D

        Reply
      2. Jasonjay

        Perhaps just remove the Creators update part of the title, because it suggests that the removal of desktop icons is a “feature” of the update. Almost nothing about your instructions are creator-update specific, because the means of getting these icons back is virtually identical in the non-creator version of Windows 10.

        Reply
        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          Settings options and appearance are new to Creators Update.

          Reply
          1. Jasonjay

            The Themes appearance in settings is somewhat different I agree, but the instructions to actually enable desktop icons are still the same. The desktop icons link is still under the “Related settings” area in both the Creators and non-creators versions of Win 10, regardless of where they physically appear in the Themes section.

            The world is having a huge issue with fake and misleading news these days, I know you’re Russian but please don’t do what your Government does and add to it. :)

    2. newton181

      The title is correct, my interpretation is that the icons in desktop are disabled (by default) in new windows 10 version, and i can read the post to know how to enable desktop icons.

      Reply
    3. Bob

      It’s just software, not a dinosaur who is going to eat you. Don’t be scared :D

      Reply
  2. daveo76

    Interesting I never notice that.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Where does the “Classic display settings” context menu shortcut in that screenshot go to? Last I checked MS removed them from the control panel and put them in the Settings metro application.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Yep, you are right. I used the screenshot from an older article, it was taken when the classic Display settings were available.

      Reply
  4. FX

    Useful, thank you. (y)

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome.

      Reply
  5. Chris

    I’m having the same problem. When I follow the steps here, my desktop icons show briefly (about a second) then disappear again.

    Any suggestions?

    Reply

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